PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman is heading to North Korea — tattoos, piercings, bad-boy reputation and all.

Dennis Rodman

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman is paying a surprise visit to North Korea. Pic: AP.

The American known as “the worm” is set to arrive Tuesday in Pyongyang, becoming an unlikely ambassador at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

Rodman, three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a camera crew from VICE television are visiting North Korea for a news show set to air on HBO in April.

The trip comes two weeks after North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test in defiance of U.N. bans against atomic activity. Pyongyang says the test was directed at Washington.

VICE told The Associated Press that the Americans hope to engage in a little “basketball diplomacy” with North Koreans.

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